My mother asked me for a bottle of perfume when asked what she'd like as a gift. She has worn most recently L'Eau D'Issey (which I find uninspiring) so I decided to find a better, more interesting alternative for her. Cue Florabotanica, I'm going to quote Luca Turin's review of this here as I can't say it better myself:
"Florabotanica manages to turn frumpy and cheap into frivolous and charming by doing to the floral what Philippe Starck did to upholstery when he took a Louis XVI chair, cast it as one piece of Lucite, and called it Ghost: bring forth something not particularly comfortable, but unquestionably witty and stylish."
I received a sample of this from Nordstrom's yesterday and to me there's a sharp, synthetic, countertop cleaner accord that burns my throat and is rapidly giving me a headache. Underneath the shrill and generic fruit and flower,(it's a stretch to try to name a specific fruit and I certainly wouldn't call this "flower" a rose) I'm getting a very slight, limp vetiver, cleansed of all its dirt and glory. And there is a minty-birchwood thing that is popular these days (though no wood is listed among the official notes). The overall effect for me is the way I have felt trying Narciso Rodriguez: grumpy, disappointed, and vowing not to bother with commercial fragrance counters ever again. Probably good for the office if you like fruity-florals of the popular variety.
An unenthusiastic thumbs up. Florabotanica kicks off with a fruity red cassis paired with green mint as a counterpoint. The fruity quality fades fairly quickly, making room for a mix of green herbs and unconvincing synthetic rose that turns out to be the long-term focus of the scent.
Aside from the silly fruit on top, Florabotanica smells to me like a study in the contrasts between masculine herbs and feminine fruity rose. It's not bad at all, but even after repeated wears, I'm just not finding it very compelling despite some interesting pappery flower sillage. In the world of high end designer perfumes that seem to have been obsessed with smelling like strawberry shampoo for the last couple of years, Florabotanica smells considerably more thoughtful and smart than its sisters, but there are other scents that combine flowers and herbs more compellingly. Thumbs up, but without much excitement.
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I haven't worn a rose-based scent since Tea Rose at age 15, but lately I've found myself lingering in that section of the olfactionary garden. My last two purchases were Eau de Cartier Goutte de Rose and Balenciaga Flora Botanica. I outgrew Tea Rose's soliflore about the time my wisdom teeth came in, but this duo refreshes the demure old theme with a hot clove-carnation spice (Cartier) and a juicy, faintly minty rose cordial (Balenciaga). I don't detect the vetiver in Flora Botanica at all -- odd because I am wild for vetiver -- and the 'powdery' note reported by others sounds more like the desiccated rose petals of the potpourri jar rather than this rich, dew-spangled beauty. The Cartier is my choice for the depths of winter, when the memory of fragrant gardens is wan and tenuous and its peppery rose reminds one of baking summer days. The Balenciaga is more like personal air conditioning, to be worn on baking summer days.
First a burst of melon, then pepper, then more pepper - and that's all I get. No flowers at all -and the pepper is harsh and chemical-laden.
The classic Perles de Lalique combined pepper with rose in 2005 and came up with a great new chypre scent. Here no one even attempts to balance these elements.
Another modern disaster from the bought name of Balenciaga.
20th November, 2013 (last edited: 08th January, 2014)
The freshness of the opening is nice with hints of carnation and a minty twist, with a rather disappointing rose note that on my skin never goes beyond synthetic blandness. A touch of green at times. On my skin this scent is thin with very poor silage and projection, and a longevity of three hours. I suspect in warm weather this might be less flat. Pleasantly superficial. My expectations were raised by the lovely packaging and the well-designed bottle, but the content did not live up to them. Looks great on the dressing table though.
This is most definitely a unisex frag. It might be one of the most powerful fragrances I've ever tried -- at least in terms of staying power. I sprayed it on my left arm yesterday at noon, and I can still smell it strongly through the sleeve of my canvas shirt, from 18 inches away. It's like a cross of Ivoire de Balmain (vintage) and YSL's original Paris. I'm a guy and am thinking seriously about getting a bottle. It is by no means original, but it is refreshing. It is not subtle, but subtle isn't always a virtue. It is commanding and bold. It's not a slouchy scent. Rather, it's something you might wear to a semi-formal garden party in East Hampton. Think linen pants and silk bow ties over shorts and flip-flops; mimosas over beer. This day scent is not, however, stuffy or pretentious. It's sophisticated relaxation, a hammock in the shade, a cooling balm after a day at the beach. Reminds me of my summers in Southern Maine.
Could not wait to try this as I had already read about it and loved the packaging. What I got was a very dry and powdery rose. The fragrance is very linear, with the only variation being a very slight minty freshness in the beginning, but that left with evaporation. This is a very tenacious fragrance, one little squirt left a comet trail behind me for a long time, and when I woke up the next morning (after a shower the night before) I could still smell it clinging to my wrist. Something about it reminds me of very well dressed ladies in the 1960s-1970s. I heard it has a note of cannibis in it, I guess that is what is reminding me of that era.
09th March, 2013 (last edited: 19th March, 2013)
I had high hopes for this one - the bottle is gorgeous and the notes made me think this couldn't be anything but a winner. But it's not. I forgot that this - after all - is a fragrance aimed towards a young audience, an audience normally buying fruity-florals; sometimes with no other criterion than a cute bottle embracing the liquid (think Marc Jacob's "Dot").
Balenciaga has twigged the nice-bottle-concept, and they also realized that the young fruity-floral-audience (usually) doesn't want too much of a challenge when they buy a perfume. The brave move Balenciaga has made here is the fact that this isn't sweet, or peachy, or powdery, or candied - there is actually nothing in here reminding me of the huge range of "pink" fragrances dominating the market. Instead this is a green rose, with a soapy but not out-of-the-shower-clean character. The mint never turns cold in the typical minty way, instead it soothes the composition and softens the edges. It doesn't have a great sillage but sticks around for a good 6-8 hours on me.
I find it nice for what it is, but I also find it boring.
After all I'm quite thankful and have great respect for what Balenciaga is doing here: Florabotanica might introduce a new trend different from the now dominating fruity-floral-trend. And maybe, maybe (oh I wish!) this might even fuel the perfume interest in one or two teens wandering aimlessly about the perfume department, not yet aware of the fact that there is other fragrances in the perfume world than fruity-florals.
WOW! I love this! Absolutely love it. So clean and floral. The vetiver is the strongest note for me and takes centre stage once on the skin. After a few minutes the notes evolve making the cleaness really complex. With your movement you can detect mint and a candied carnation. The dry down is so powdery and clean and the rose note is lovely, so feminie and pure and unadulterated. Just clean and beautiful and lovely. WOW!
Unusual scent. I realized it after a day of wearing a little bit from a sample vial. Initially it smelled like Insolence by Guerlain. The dry down is amazing and it is a lost lasting fragrance.
This is a nice new scent. Forget the gender designation and marketing -- this is unisex.
It is intended to be a "floral oriental" but I don't get any heavy, rich notes in the dry-down -- so the "oriental" descriptor is a bit of a misnomer.
This is a nice floral -- dry, green, fresh. It is not sweet at all. The light mint and gentle clove note from the carnation give a zesty-dry quality to it. It conveys a clean, bright tone and a slightly soapy quality (in a pleasant way). The green notes keep wafting in and out. The scent is subtle but effective.
The bottle is funky and the packaging is colourful.
I like it.